How Osama bin Laden eluded George Bush. If Pakistan was a safe haven for Osama bin Laden, then why were we giving Pakistan $20 billion?!

UYGUR: There are now new point blank accusations that Pakistan is still harboring terrorists even as we give them billions in aid. Democratic Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee says, he believes that top levels of the Pakistani government knew about Bin Laden and that they know about other terrorists as well.


SENATOR CARL LEVIN (D), CHAIRMAN, ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: The thing which astounds me more than anything, of course, is the idea that people in Pakistan higher up in the intelligence service or the army or police, local officials, didn`t know he was there. I find that so difficult to believe. There`s a bigger issue. They do know where the Haqqani network is.


UYGUR: Now they know that while we`re giving them billions in aid. We give a total of $20 billion since 2001. Lately we`ve been doling out at least $1.3 billion a year and we`re apparently getting very little in return.

Pakistan has gotten very used to us not holding them accountable through all the Bush years, where we seem to have put very little pressure on them.

Remember Bush had no clue about Pakistan when he took office. Here`s Bush as a candidate in 1999 unable to name the leader of Pakistan.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: The new Pakistani general has just been elected. He`s going to took over office. It appears he`s going to bring stability to the country, and I think that`s good news.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can`t name him.

BUSH: General, I can`t name the general.


UYGUR: Two things to note. Not only couldn`t Bush name Pervez Musharraf, but Musharraf definitely was not elected. He came to power in a military coup and it was definitely not good for the subcontinent.

Now that level of ignorance did wind up becoming very relevant as the Bush administration just kept trusting Musharraf over and over again, as if he was good for Pakistan and good for our interests.

By 2006, the evidence was already mounting that Pakistan was giving cover to terrorists, but the Bush team still didn`t get it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Pakistanis aren`t willing to seek Bin Laden and have peace pact with the terrorists, where are we?

DICK CHENEY, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I don`t buy the premise of your question. President Musharraf has been a great ally. In fact is Musharraf has put his neck on the line in order to be effective in going after the extremist elements, including al Qaeda and including the Taliban in Pakistan.


UYGUR: Oops. T hey had the wrong strategy. They were soft on Pakistan. Barack Obama promised a different strategy during the campaign. He said, we`re going to act with or without them and now Bin Laden is dead.

And word today that the U.S. has launched its first drone attack in Pakistan since the killing of Bin Laden. Pakistani officials say the attack killed 10 people in a Taliban stronghold near the Afghan border. You want to talk tough on terror? That`s how you do it.

Joining me now is Retired Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson who served as chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell in the Bush administration.

Colonel Wilkerson, great to have you here. Now, I know that Pakistan has a lot of nuance, it`s not as simple as you give them aid or you don`t give them aid. They`re different people within their government.

But to the outside world, as you look back at the Bush administration, it appeared that we were far too trusting over the Musharraf government.

COLONEL LAWRENCE WILKERSON, U.S. ARMY (RETIRED): I would say that`s probably a fair assessment, but the most — I listened to your lead-in, and I was thinking the most damaging thing we did in the Bush administration was we took our eye off the ball in the Afghan/Pakistan theater.

When we went to Iraq, it became basically a backwater theater, an economy of force theatre, as we say in the military. We just don`t have the assets to put that kind of emphasis on two theatres simultaneously.

So when we went to Iraq, Afghanistan was just there. We weren`t doing very much there. It was wasted time. In that time, as you pointed out, Musharraf spent most of the money we were giving him on beefing up the army to confront India, not on delivering jobs to his people, better infrastructure, education and so forth, which should have been the purpose of that money.

UYGUR: Colonel, I`m really curious to what happened inside the White House. Obviously, there are a lot of smart people that work there, including your boss, Colin Powell, including yourself, that knew the dynamic within Pakistan.

So when you guys said, wait a minute, why are we taking our eye off the ball in Afghanistan and Pakistan, what was the reaction? How did it work internally?

WILKERSON: I don`t think there was as much argument as there should have been. The argument was more of the debate I should say. It was more over whether we should do Iraq at all. My boss was adamant there were a couple reasons why we shouldn`t do it at the time we did it.

One was that we didn`t have the international support and vastly international legitimacy and the other one, probably more to your point, it was bad timing. We simply didn`t have the armed forces, the assets to prosecute two theaters with vigor simultaneously.

And so he knew that if we were going to Iraq, we would going to leave the theater that was probably the more important one on its own for a long period of time, however long it took us to stabilize things in Iraq. We knew it would take longer than five or six months to do Iraq right.

UYGUR: You know, I remember back then I was pulling my hair out like, he`s in Afghanistan, why are we sending more people to Iraq than we are to the Afghanistan/Pakistan area where we know al Qaeda? It made no sense to me.

WILKERSON: I think that`s become so clear that I wonder why the American people haven`t gotten on to it yet. Yesterday, or day before yesterday, the Iraq oil report made the projections that there`s 100 billion barrels for sure, 200 billion probably, and at the outside 300 billion. That dwarfs Saudi Arabia. I know why Dick Cheney went to Iraq.

UYGUR: Wow. So you`re saying that it didn`t have to do with al Qaeda or Bin Laden. Obviously, they weren`t there and you guys knew they weren`t there. It had to do with the oil.

WILKERSON: That was the camouflage. That was to get the American people excited about going to war in Iraq again. The real reason for Iraq, and incidentally the reason we aren`t coming home anytime soon is the oil.

UYGUR: You know, you mentioned Dick Cheney as if he was making the decisions. I want to play one more clip here from George Bush in that same interview when he was asked about world leaders and then get a response from you. Let`s watch first.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you name the president of Chechnya?

BUSH: No, can you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you name the president of Taiwan?

BUSH: Yes, Lee. The new Pakistani general has just been elected. He`s going to took over office. He appears he`s going to bring stability to the country, and I think that`s good news.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you can`t name him?

BUSH: General. I can`t name the general.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prime minister of India?

BUSH: The new prime minister of India is — no.


UYGUR: Now, at the time, I remember some people said, well, that was unfair, you can`t ask somebody running for president to know world leaders. But his profound lack of knowledge, did it lead to people like Dick Cheney being able to really take control and do things that the president, you know, was not savvy enough to understand?

WILKERSON: In my view, absolutely so. The president was not steeped in much of anything certainly not foreign policy. Dick Cheney is one of the most competent, capable bureaucrats I`ve ever met.

I worked in the Pentagon when he was secretary of defense. I would have declared him at the end of that time period, the best secretary of defense since James Forestall, but that best was because of the his decision-making ability, his executive ability.

He brought that ability to the White House. George W. Bush did not possess that ability ergo guess who became president in that first term.

UYGUR: More strong words. That`s why we love having you on, real truth, that`s what we try to get here. Retired Army Colonel Wilkerson, as always, a great pleasure to have you tonight.

WILKERSON: Thanks for having me.

About William Brighenti

William Brighenti is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified Business Valuation Analyst. Bill began his career in public accounting in 1979. Since then he has worked at various public accounting firms throughout Connecticut. Bill received a Master of Science in Professional Accounting degree from the University of Hartford, after attending the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University for his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. He subsequently attended Purdue University for doctoral studies in Accounting and Quantitative Methods in Business. Bill has instructed graduate and undergraduate courses in Accounting, Auditing, and other subjects at the University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, Hartford State Technical College, and Purdue University. He also taught GMAT and CPA Exam Review Classes at the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center and at Person-Wolinsky, and is certified to teach trade-related subjects at Connecticut Vocational Technical Schools. His articles on tax and accounting have been published in several professional journals throughout the country as well as on several accounting websites. William was born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut, and served on the City's Board of Finance and Taxation as well as its City Plan Commission. In addition to the blog, Accounting and Taxes Simplified, Bill writes a blog, "The Barefoot Accountant", for the Accounting Web, a Sift Media publication.
This entry was posted in Accountants CPA Hartford, Articles and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *